Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Photo Courtesy of fatbmx.com
The most extreme of sporting events, The X-Games, came to Austin for the tournaments at the grand Circuit of The Americas and left with a story that only the 512 city could inspire. The event for us began as a working weekend on June 5th, the Thursday when the famous Downtown Austin Capital became a playground for Tony Hawk and friends. As they took over in Extreme fashion with a massive half-pipe crowds gathered in downtown 12th and Congress area to join in the fun.
Photo Courtesy of Tony Hawks Instagram
The next morning it was evident that the event at the Circuit of The Americas would be a huge success, as crowds poured in regardless of the high humidity and almost triple digit temperatures. A record of 160,000 attendees graced the COTA for the weekend, making it the highest attended event besides the Formula-1 races the venue was built for. The games and entertainment where not lacking; everything from Bull Riding, Laser Tag, Arcades, and Vendor set ups were available to enjoy as part of the action in addition to the extreme competitions. The Major League Gaming association also had a Halo and Call of Duty tournament in place that attendees could check out. The first major event we caught highlighted the great Videography the X-Games camera crew were displaying, great shots of the Big Air Contests were shown on the Jumbotrons across the park and in countless TV screens in America, all displaying our city in full family fun force. Watching the Monster Street Skate qualifiers was amazing and we later saw the record setting Nyjah Huston Win his 3rd Gold Medal at Sundays Finals. We called it an early evening since we would be back the next day at 9 AM. Non-the-less seeing the Texas flag up top the huge ramp of the Big Air being surrounded by the massive crowd of tan bodies enjoying the Austin Night was truly breathtaking.
Photo by Shelley Neuman via Austin.Culturemap.com
The Pretty Lights Show was said to be a pretty sweet sight but we made it a point to check out Austin's Own Magna Carda who's live jazz/neo-soul sounds encompass the chill Austin vibe yet their aggressively clean lyrics show the passion these young artist from our city posses. The following day began bright and early, the likes of Jackass' Wee-Man and Legend Tony Hawk were perusing the stadium signing autographs. The games and qualifier events kept us busy until Bad Religion hit the stage with a high energy show but the real attention grabbers to us were the few risk takers who brought their best outfits primarily the evening of Kanye's Show. Hats were a mandatory but the inspirations of graffiti artists in their oriental inspired attire and headgear gave us a glimpse into some awesome upcoming trends we would like to tap into. The perfect spot to catch the diversely dressed crowd was the "watering hole" pond that covers the entrance of the COTA stadium.
Prior to running into the Kanye West Show we met a young man on his grind. Working his booth which displayed his limited edition Paper Toy Clothing tees he enthusiastically explained what he does and why. The graphic tees made by this up and coming artist and entrepreneur, who couldn't be over 10 years old, are a part of a vision to make a difference with his art and apparel. We're keeping a close eye on the great things to come from Santana Draper!
The evening shows began with a great performance by Mac Miller who's hilarious disposition and on point lyricism kept the crowd hyped and the stoners laughing. He played new jams as well as the Kids Mixtape classics just to top it off with the fame intro Donald Trump.
Then came the big show after a brief intermission Yeezus himself set the stage a flame with a full production initiated by a red solid screen. The rapper's silhouette emerged under the 60 foot red screen and as the crimson colored lowered rumbling sound atop rabid dogs growls and barks emerged from the speakers. The vicious audio attack went on for about 20 seconds and the stage exploded with "New Slaves" Followed by "Blood on The Sleeves". The classics included "All Falls Down", "Good Life" and new G.O.O.D Music included "I Dont Like" and "Run Away". The crowd irrupted in a Happy Birthday to Mr.West as he celebrated his 37th Birthday on Stage which ensued with an additional song from the artist past the 1:00 A.M city curfew time. The social media waves caught a great glimpse of the cake baked by Austin's own vegan Sugar Mama's bakery .
Picture via Virgil Ablohs Instagram
Picture Via Sugar Mama's Bakery
The last evening we watched the final competitions and did our final round of swag grabbing watching it all end perfectly with the Flaming Lips trippy performance. As they were minutes from hitting the stage all the fans were invited to the front stage and the stadium seating filled with weekend warriors ready to enjoy the show and enjoy it we did. The act of the 80s group infused with psychedelic sounds and tribute to The Beetle's sound made everyone in the stadium feel the love. With appearance from Wayne Coynes cohorts; mushroom, aliens, and sun flower friends the stage took on a life of its own. The finale was a great symbolism to a great weekend that came alive with the great Austin Crowd and left its adoring personal touch on the visitors and artist that came for the X-Games weekend event. And as for us locals we are reminded again of the great times and hospitality that our city blends with excitement, appreciation of art, and Texas Culture unlike anywhere else.